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Was this a good or bad winter for honey bees? (in the Portland, OR area)

 
Julia Winter
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I'd like to hear how your bees are dealing with the freakishly early (OK, maybe not THAT freakish, but I moved here from Wisconsin, it's only my second spring here) bloom? Here in NE Portland I feel like I'm not seeing nearly as many honeybees as there "should" be. I've seen more bumble bees than honey bees.
 
tel jetson
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still plenty of time for winter to come back. doesn't mean it will, but there is some precedent for late cold snaps around here.
 
Julia Winter
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So, are the bees still in winter mode? It's funny, I recall being worried about a lack of bees last spring as well. I guess the warm season in Wisconsin is so short (compared to here) that as soon as we've got dandelions blooming, honey bees are out working those flowers. Spring is a lot shorter inland, the whole thing is compressed.

Here in the PNW, I don't see honey bees on the first dandelions.
 
David Livingston
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It's a worrying time for beekeepers as it's the most difficult time as the bees start to run out of honey and the weather can be too cold for the flowers to open
Here in France my " girls " broke from their winter cluster and are on willow and hazel not many dandelion out yet . It always amuses me to hear Beeks talk about % losses as I only have one hive so it's 100% or zero % for me

David
 
Aaron Althouse
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Location: Shine, WA - Zone 8b
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Hi Julia,

I live on the Olympic Peninsula, so I'm not too far away from you and have had similar observations. Last Sunday was a nice enough day, so I took my hive apart and did a pretty thorough but *quick* inspection. I did not take it apart enough to look for brood since I see many young bees in the hive. At least they look “fresh” to me, and I see lots of orientation flights when the days warm up. I assume the queen is busy doing her thing and don’t need to disturb her or her brood.

So my take is that queens here are laying now to prepare for the spring flow.

Aaron
 
tel jetson
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the hives around here are definitely out and about, but just coming out of winter, their population hasn't begin growing yet. so they're out, there just aren't a lot of them yet.
 
Jacqueline Freeman
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Hi Julia,
I'm a half hour northeast of Portland and, despite the warm weather, it seems like a normal year so far. My bees look pretty good though I've got one hive that seems slower than I'd expect, while the rest of my hives look pretty good. Knowing March is the toughest month, I'm keeping my hive good wishes strong. March is a tough month because when it's warm like this, our bees are roused and looking for food, but there bloom doesn't match the warmth. In other words, while some things are in bloom, the warmth of the air hasn't been enough to make everything jump ahead early. Some plants, bushes and trees are pushed into bloom by the length of the day vs others who leap into bloom because it's warm.

So I'd give a cautious yes to it being a good winter and hold out to see if we might have an issue with the bees coming out too early, before the big bloom.

I was working in my greenhouse today and one of our bees found the open door and came in to see if anything was flowering yet. Sorry, I had to tell her, nothing ready yet.

warmly,
Jacqueline
 
Julia Winter
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This past weekend Portland was absolutely blanketed with blooming trees. Crazy beautiful: magnolias, cherries, plums and more. Seems a shame there aren't more bees to appreciate them. . .

Flowers last longer here, though, so maybe there will be some harvest of nectar and pollen.
 
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